My face is my identity

 Burka. With or against
 People recognise one another not by looking at each other hands or backs but by looking at each other faces. There is something deeply disturbing and inhuman in forcing somebody to cover it and live behind the veil.
 Nevertheless, given the opportunity I would not vote to ban burka. Mainly because the consequences of doing so could be quite opposite to desired ones. If somebody is able to force their wife, sisters or daughters to completely cover their bodies, is probably also capable of not letting them leave their houses at all if not behind the veil or with their company, and already isolated women would be even more secluded from society. Moreover all the opponents of burka tend to point their finger at Muslim men accusing them for all the evil which happens to their women, at the same time forgetting that also many Muslim women are conservative themselves and share the same views about women’s modesty and their role in society. Therefore are they really forced to wear veils? Definitely not, by any law in the world. Even Iran and Saudi Arabia, the only two countries following sharia law do not require women to do so. Both oblige them to wear head scarfs, not the veils. Although in Saudi Arabia, where vast majority of women wear burkas some cases of women being arrested after they uncovered their faces were reported. And as long as it is accepted and preferred by the respective societies there is nothing we can or even should try to do about. It seems that they are not quite ready yet for such an enormous change. Also even if we ban it the question is how the new law would be implemented? Would police officers be instructed to rip the veils off women’s faces? Or maybe those disobedient would not be allowed in public places? It’s really easy to change the law, but not so much to change customs and social norms of people from different cultural background. It requires education and takes generations.

 Women’s rights activists think that they know better than the women themselves what is good for poor and oppressed Muslim girls. Myself, I would rather advice us all to stop telling people what should they wear and how should they live. It’s time to listen instead.

Land of Canaan. Part II Six Day War

Not even one week. This is how long it took Israel to almost paralyse three armies and tripled its size. Up to now the country has been involved in four wars, thirteen military conflicts or violent events with its neighbours and is in the constant state of emergency due to Palestinian insurgency in the occupied territories. But one of those four wars played especially significant role in shaping the region the way we can see it today. It has changed the borders, forced thousands of people to seek refuge in the neighbouring countries, from one hand strengthened the country inside out but from the other made it more ignitable place to live in. As well as partly caused civil war in Lebanon. All of it started 50 years ago on 5th of June 1967. 


After the war of independence had finished and all the fights had finally ceased by July 1949 some of the Arab countries hostile to the Jewish state became more preoccupied with their own problems and local disputes over the power rather than focusing on erasing Israel from the world’s map. Nevertheless the issue came back in the mid 60’. In 1964 on the initiative of the Arab League Palestinian Liberation Organization was created to support their effort in fighting the occupant. Moreover in 1967 Egyptians persuaded the UN to withdraw from the Sinai and shortly after began a blockade of Sharm al-Sheikh and therefore made impossible Israeli export from Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea. New war started on 5th of June.


On the very first day only Israel almost destroyed Egyptian air force before the planes even took off, did the same to Syria, Jordan and Iraq gaining therefore air supremacy, its ground forces entered Sinai to fight Egyptian army. West Jerusalem alongside the other cities were shelled by Jordanian forces. Heavy fights in the West Bank continued on the second day of the conflict, during which on the 7th of June Israel captured Old City of Jerusalem. Following day Jewish army reached Suez Canal and took over Sinai Peninsula from Egypt on the south front and the West Bank on the east . On the two last days Golan Heights were captured and after ceasefire declaration war was over.


 Who has started the conflict is a matter of dispute between two sides, with Jewish accusing Egypt of attacking them so they were forced to fight back and the Egyptians claiming that strong Arab military presence in Sinai made Israel launch massive air strike which completely destroyed Egyptian air force. It seems that whoever says the truth no longer matters, given all the Arab actions and their unabated hostility war was hanging by a thread anyway.


 As for the consequences, nations of the Middle East still have to deal with them in everyday life. Israel gained territory and what they wanted the most, control over the city of Jerusalem. Even though international community didn’t accept it and in Resolution 242 UN asked Israel to come back to the pre-1967 borders, it didn’t happen. Spectacular victory helped the Jews to strengthen their position in the region and in the long term even made some of their neighbours to accept their presence. But it also made as much as 300 thousands Palestinians to leave their homeland and live as refugees elsewhere in the Middle East or Europe and 80 thousands Syrians to give up on everything they had and move from Golan Heights. In Lebanon big number of newcomers contributed to sectarian tensions and as a result to civil war. Also Israel had to pay the price for its great victory and getting control over the land they wanted. Palestinians who did not leave occupied territories still fight for independence, organise intifadas and attacks on Jewish people, what cost hundreds of lives on both sides, majority of them on their own. Growing hostility and lack of trust makes it impossible to reach any agreement, so the two nations live in constant fear and uncertainty about their future. 


Meir Shalev, one of the Israeli soldiers fighting in Six Day War after capturing West Bank said “We took a bite we will suffocate on”

50 years later his words sound like a prophecy.